My dear friend, Kathryn, you all figure out which one, sent me a text today. She was on route to some Christmas gathering in the- middle-of -nowhere, Georgia and passed a long chain of pecan trees. She said it made her think of me. ( Writers hold connections like that well)
I’ve always said that one day I might just have that house in the country with some pecan trees. Funny thing, I don’t really even care that much for pecans, except salted, and roasted at Christmas. I don’t even like pecan pie, I know, un-southern; I don’t like sliced (raw) tomatoes either, a definite disqualifier, don’t tell anybody. I’m hoping my taste will change like it did for greens when I hit 40. I’d bout kill you for some good ones right now. Surely by eighty I will eat them both, nearly exclusively.
Only one of the houses we ever lived in as kids had a pecan tree, my parents’ present one. But the tree is kinda an after thought, one that just came up from seed and that grows in an inconvenient place for a pecan tree. It doesn’t have space or honestly care enough to grow good pecans. So I have never considered it a bona-fide pecan tree.
Anyway, I love pecan trees…They remind me of home, not my parents’ house. Home. From before I was, in a place where the soil was basically sand and life. There are pecan trees everywhere in Middle Georgia, where my parents were born and raised. My grandmother’s sister’s house in Thomasville, further south and back in time, excuse me, out from Thomasville, was the closest to anyplace my Nana ever associated with home. Her parent’s small sharecropper place fell in years before I came to be, I’m sure. I went to South Georgia with her a few times but she never spoke of or showed me any land that she ever lived on. Her sister’s place was a two-story farmhouse in the middle of a pecan grove. I remember being little and staring out at all those trees, just a lined up and the folks there telling how many pounds of pecans that they’d sold that year – their living. I remember my cousin, Tracy, a boy a few years older than I had a mini-bike that we got to ride on, with him, between the long rows.
And of course, Nana had a pecan tree, too. Properly planted, with a wide domain of its own, and defended from pest, it did bear fruit a plenty, even in the North Georgia clay of Clarke county. That tree was my lookout, where I spent countless hours just thinking, considering this and that, watching birds on telephone lines against the falling sun and listening for the train not too far off, rumbling and whistling just behind Normaltown. I could get up and out pretty far in that great spread of branches, it had its space, remember. I climbed up in its strong arms, nearly to the top of the house which Nana also let me keep swept of the Great Pine’s straw. Nana never did trouble herself about my getting high enough to see and hear and take care of those things that might need some attention.
So, she let me go on as high as I might, knowing that old tree would take good care of me… just they way its brothers and sisters had taken care of hers.